Army Staff Sergeant Ryan Christian Knauss was born on April 7, 1998, to his parents, Greg and Paula Knauss of Corryton, Tennessee. From his first push-up at birth with his 10 pound plus body, Ryan’s life purpose of serving in the military was evident. Many years of playing war games in the hills of Tennessee with his older brother, Tyler Christian Knauss, and numerous childhood friends, bolstered Ryan’s interest even more. With these endless hours of play in the fields and later online war games throughout Ryan’s teenage years, Ryan’s interest in the armed force branches continued throughout his childhood.
Upon moving from private schools to enter public high school at Gibbs High School in Corryton, Tennessee, Ryan focused on joining the JROTC cadet program to begin his physical and mental preparation to join the military upon his graduation. For four years, Ryan trained his body and mind to endure brutal personal workouts and eating regimens that shaped his lanky pre-teen body into a stronger young man by graduation. After receiving the Best Cadet of the Year award for 2015-2016 from Gibbs High School JROTC, Ryan enlisted in the Army in 2015 during his senior year in anticipation of entering basic training after high school graduation. In Ryan’s own words, “he wanted to do what he really wanted to do and be boots on the ground.”
After graduating high school in May of 2016, Ryan flourished under the Army’s intense trainings, deployments, and leadership. As an Infantry Soldier in basic training and then individual advance training followed by his graduation at Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia, Ryan was then assigned as a paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In 2017-2018, Ryan was deployed as a gunner in Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel. After nine long months, Ryan finally returned home. Yet, Ryan wanted to do more for his country and push himself to be the best soldier that he could be.
Therefore, Ryan completed the intense Psychological Operations Assessment and Selection Course in 2018 and later PSYOP Qualification course and was assigned to the 9th Psychological Operations Battalion (Airborne) in August of 2020. This was quite a feat for a young man with only 4 years of military training. With great eagerness, Ryan then volunteered one year later to deploy back to Afghanistan to save lives on a humanitarian mission in support of the noncombatant evacuation operations in Kabul, Afghanistan in August of 2021.
On the afternoon of August 26, 2021, Army SSG Ryan Christian Knauss, age 23, along with 12 other young, brave United States military warriors and at least 170 civilians were killed by a terrorist explosion and subsequent gunfire at the Kabul Hamid Karzai International Airport Abbey Gate. The United States hasty withdrawal from Afghanistan after 20 years of fighting a war on terrorism left pain, anger, grief, and confusion for every person watching from around the world at the unnecessary loss of any life on this noncombatant mission.
With this in mind, Respect and Remember Memorial Foundation, Inc seeks to encourage enlisting high school JROTC and ROTC cadets entering the military with merit endowment scholarships of appreciation, support active military families with Welcome Home packages and Deployment Care Packages for their loved ones, and partner with other veteran organizations to offer recreational outlets for veterans along with honor parades, veteran rides, and seeking policy changes in the state and federal government agencies that improve life for veterans.